Fourteen remaining Canadian wolves released last month into a central Idaho wilderness are giving U.S. Fish and Wildlife trackers a run for their money.
wolves have left Idaho and headed north into Montana. One was about
20 miles south of Hamilton, Mont., Feb. 8, while the other was
about 20 miles south of Philipsburg, Mont. The good news, said Ted
Koch, head of Idaho's wolf recovery team, was that the wolf near
Philipsburg had started backtracking.
Fish and Wildlife Service tracks the wolves every other day by
plane when the weather permits.
spotted about 80 miles north of its release site in the Frank
Church-River of No Return Wilderness, had also turned around. In
two days it traveled 40 miles back toward Indian Creek. "That's
good news," Koch said. "It says they're secure enough in that area
to return to it."
Another wolf headed west and
was about 20 miles southeast of Cascade, Idaho, Feb. 8. Koch said
he has notified area ranchers about the wolf's
The rest of the wolves have stayed
within 10 miles of their release sites at Indian Creek and Corn
Creek, a Forest Service campground where four of the wolves were
Koch says that he and other biologists
expected the wolves to be disoriented and confused for a while.
That the Frank Church is not prime wolf habitat may have
disconcerted the wolves even more. But Koch says there is plenty of
game and that it's better for the wolves to have time to adjust
away from civilization, where they could get into
Koch expects the wolves to slow down
"We'll cut back on the frequency of our
flights as soon as the wolves settle down and become more
predictable," he said. "And we hope that happens soon because we're
getting short on flight funds."